From June 3 to July 5, 2019, JVI offered its flagship Applied Economic Policies (AEP) course for the 26th time. The course is a collaborative effort of the JVI, Austrian Ministry of Finance (BMF), Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and World Trade Organization (WTO). The course’s objective is to give participants a comprehensive understanding of the many facets of economic policymaking, to reinforce their analytical skills, and to enable them to formulate effective economic policy recommendations. JVI economists teach the course along with practitioners from JVI’s member organizations, who contribute their respective institutions’ special expertise.
The AEP course targets younger public sector officials from JVI-eligible countries who show high promise for future advancement in their home administrations. In fact, a number of current and former ministers and central bank governors of JVI’s 31 target countries are AEP alumni!
This year, over five weeks 29 participants from 21 countries explored macroeconomic concepts and policies, financial sector issues, international trade policy, and lessons from the Austrian and European political and economic systems. Course segments included lectures covering both practical and theoretical aspects of policy formulation, small-group workshops, case studies, and participant presentations. Fostering peer learning, sharing experiences from their home countries, and building lasting practitioner networks were, as always, integral objectives.
This year, we shortened the AEP course from seven to five weeks. The rationale for this was to allow a larger participant pool to apply for and attend the course, as feedback from previous years’ courses suggested that potential candidates might find it increasingly difficult to be away from their regular job duties for an extended period. Thus, the previously offered segment on Financial Programming and Policies (FPP) was not part of this year’s AEP. JVI still offers the FPP twice a year as a stand-alone IMF-led course, and it is available as an IMF online course (in two parts) on the edX platform.
Even though the duration of the course was shortened, we still managed to integrate a new feature to this year’s event—a two-day presentation and communication training. Two outstanding coaches—Malcolm Love and Hanni Bauer—helped AEP course participants to hone their presentation skills and public communication proficiency, foster teamwork, and learn tips and tricks for effective negotiating and influencing. The new course segment turned out to be highly popular and received rave feedback from the AEP class of 2019. Moreover, many course participants stressed that the training helped them to get to know each other better and forge a highly energized international team. It energized the AEP participants for the many team projects and presentations that awaited them in the following course weeks.
Like last year, the AEP course included three gender-awareness lunch seminars in which participants discussed issues and policies related to gender inequality. Participants again received the workshop very well and engaged in lively discussions. The program also featured a guest lecture on Gender, Technology and the Future of Work by Ms. Era Dabla-Norris from the IMF. We have published a separate article on this well-received event.
As usual, the JVI team complemented the rigorous AEP course schedule by a rich social and cultural program designed to foster team building and to allow course participants to experience the cultural offerings of JVI’s host country, Austria. It included a city tour, various concerts, a night at the Vienna state opera, a day trip to the beautiful World Heritage Wachau region, as well as two visits of Vienna’s traditional Heurige wine gardens. Like in previous years, the international dinner party to which participants themselves contributed numerous delicious homemade specialties from their national cuisines was a special highlight.
On July 6, all 29 high-potential young professionals left Vienna to return to their home countries and institutions. They took with them not only comprehensive economic knowledge, but lifelong memories, new friendships, and a professional network spanning the entire JVI region.
Holger Flörkemeier, Deputy Director, JVI